CC News

Border security must be maintained

Nayek Abdur Razzak

Mahfuzur Rahman: Bangladesh and India share a total of 4,096 kilometers (2,545 miles) long international border, the fifth-longest land border in the world, including 262 km in Assam, 856 km in Tripura, 180 km in Mizoram, 443 km in Meghalaya, and 2,217 km in West Bengal while Bangladesh-Myanmar shares a common border of 271 kilometers which is divided into two parts -64km zero-line boundary on the Naf River and a 208km land boundary.

The Bangladesh divisions of Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet and Chittagong are situated along the Indian border. Bangladesh is surrounded by India to the west, north and northeast while Myanmar to the southeast, and the Bay of Bengal to the south.

Bangladesh and India- the two neighboring countries- have a shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties. Both countries have a common history of struggle for freedom and liberation.

But Myanmar is totally different from Bangladeshi culture, heritage and language excepting some commons of colonial legacy. Also there are no strong bilateral ties with Myanmar historically despite Myanmar was the 7th country who recognized Bangladesh after the bloody independence from brutal Pakistan.

Our border security system with the two neighbouring countries was historically in a pathetic position. The two of the border security forces- Border Security Force (BSF) of India and Border Guard Police (BGP) of Myanmar have been continuing their killing mission in the border areas since our independence in 1971.

Recently, separate border irregularities especially at Bangladesh-Myanmar border has been increased including shooting, killing and abduction of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members.

On June 17, the BGP men abducted one BGB man, Nayek Abdur Razzak, after shooting on them entering into the Bangladesh territory of Naf river while another BGB man was also shot in the incident. And after taking into the Myanmar territory, they brutally assaulted on Nayek Razzak since his abduction.

Even, when BGP personnel were in a handing over programme of the abducted Razzak to Bangladesh officials, some of the BGP staff shot on a Bangladeshi in the border area. This is the straight dismantle or violation of the international border rules and laws.

Relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh were not so strong and also not so bad. Bangladesh-Myanmar official relations started off following Myanmar`s recognition to Bangladesh on 13 January 1972. Between 1972 and 1985, the two countries signed three important agreements and those were: (i) General Trade Agreement (3 August, 1973), (ii) Repatriation of Refugee Agreement (1978), and (iii) Land Boundary Agreement (1979). These agreements were milestones for the relations between the two countries. Since then many top-level visits took place from both sides to strengthen Bangladesh-Myanmar ties. But Myanmar has violated this agreement in separate times in the history.

Bilateral exports and imports between Bangladesh and Myanmar were also in warm situations. Myanmar exports to Bangladesh such items as marine products, beans and pulses, and kitchen crops, while it imports from Bangladesh pharmaceuticals, ceramic, cotton fabric, raw jute, kitchenware, cosmetics and agri-products, according to the report of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI). Reportedly, bilateral trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh stood at US$ 140 million in 2008, which the two countries tried to take to 500 million dollars in the fiscal year 2009-2010.

There is another crisis between the two counties and it is Rohingya issue. The repatriation of Myanmar Refugees is a three-decade-old crisis. The Rohingya people are of Muslim descent and are native to the northern Arakan region of Burma, which borders Bangladesh.

On the other hand, notwithstanding the relations of friendship and cooperation killing of Bangladeshis in the Indian border areas spark huge criticism of India’s violation in Bangladesh as well as around the world.

Human Rights organizations in home and abroad expressed deep concern over BSF’s insane muscle flexing upon its neighbouring Bangladesh.

In 2010, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a 81 page report which detailed hundreds of abuses by the Indian border force.

The HRW’s report was compiled from interviews with victims of BSF shootings, witnesses and members of the BSF and its Bangladeshi counterpart. The report at that time alleged that over 900 Bangladeshi citizens have been killed in the first decade of the 21st century by the BSF.

According to the report of the HRW, while most of them were killed when they crossed Indian territory for indulging in cattle rustling or other smuggling activities, many were also killed in BSF`s indiscriminate firing across the border.

Killing of a young girl, Felani, whose dead body was exposed entangled in barbed wire, which mourn Bangladesh with deep anti-Indian rage and International criticism.

Earlier in June 2014, Myanmar and Bangladeshi authorities vowed to strengthen border security and combat illegal armed groups and criminals following clashes on their shared frontier that left one Bangladeshi soldiers dead.

On May 28, last year; unprovoked firing by Border Guard Police (BGP) of Myanmar killed another Nayek Md. Mizanur Rahman, a brave soldier of Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB). Myanmar BGP opened fire without provocation near border pillar 52 at Naikkhanchhari of Bandarban district, wounding Mizanur. BGP then intruded into Bangladesh territory and took away injured Mizanur. Mizanur apparently died without medical attention at the hands of BGP.

The Myanmar border guard members frequently violated the 1980 Bangladesh-Myanmar Border Agreement while Bangladesh wanted a peaceful border for continued friendly relations with Myanmar. The Border Guards of Bangladesh had not taken a tough stand against any irresponsible acts of Myanmar border police or nor against the anarchies by the Indian BSF in the Indo-Bangla border areas.

There are a lot of irregularities, anarchies and atrocities being happened in the border areas than I have noted down in the article of border atrocities by India and Myanmar. So, it should be stopped immediately. It should have a permanent solution. But it is a matter of regret that the Bangladesh authorities have not taken any tough actions against these kinds of border crimes.

Government should take some initiatives to solve the Bangladesh-India-Myanmar border crisis. The steps are-
1.    Border Guards of Bangladesh will take stern stand against any irresponsible acts of Myanmar border police or Indian BSF.
2.    Fulfilling the claims of 1974 border treaty and other agreements with Myanmar and India.
3.    Taking steps for immediately stop of shoot-at-sight policy of BSF or BGP.
4.    Alleged BSF or BGP soldiers should be trialed in an immediate basis.
5.    We can urge the international communities to form a legal international committee or body who will guide the three authorities to maintain international standards of border management.
6.    As it happens usually, the Bangladesh should attract the eyes of international communities in this regard.
7.    Bangladesh should go to the United Nations (UN) with these allegations that hampers out sovereignty.


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